In England, very little is known of the painting trade prior to the 13th century. It was at this point when ‘guilds’ began to form (an association of artisans or merchants who controlled the practice of their craft in a particular town) and amongst them were the Painters Company and the Stainers Company. With the consent of the Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1502, the two guilds merged and became The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers. The guild regulated the quality of the craft and acted as protector of the trades secrets. In 1606 Parliament granted a bill to enforce protection from outside competition such as plasterers. The Act legislated for a seven year apprenticeship and barred plasterers from painting. The enforcement of this Act was sought by The Worshipful Company until the 19th century.